Swap my motorcycle for your guitar? Sure!
I received this guitar in 1989 as a birthday present from my dad, who traded his Honda motorcycle for the guitar and a Marshall amplifier. I have had it ever since, and play it regularly. I know there were not many of these made, so they have at least some limited collectors’ appeal, but I wonder if it is actually worth anything? The guitar is all-original, with typical scuffs and scratches that a teenager would inflict. It has a date stamp on the neck, of June 21, 1984, and on the body, of March 1, 1984. It’s small, light, and easy to play, which is why I have kept it around. What do you think?
Robert in Apex, North Carolina
Nice guitar and great story. Dads can be the coolest, right? In reference to the guitar being “small, light, and easy to play,” that doesn’t surprise me since Leo Fender was a pioneer in the electric guitar industry and he obviously knew what he was doing. That said, legend has it that Leo never learned how to play guitar.
In 1965, Fender sold his enormously successful company to CBS due to health concerns, and signed a 10-year non-compete clause as part of the deal. Leo’s health improved and he consulted for Fender after the company’s sale, but he largely remained out of the guitar business until the mid 1970s, when his non-compete clause concluded.
Along with longtime friend and associate George Fullerton, Leo started CLF Research in 1975 and began building instruments for Music Man (another company started by ex-Fender employees). The relationship between CLF and Music Man eventually went south, however, and CLF stopped building guitars for them in late 1979.
In 1979, Fender, Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt (another longtime Fender associate) started a new guitar company called G&L. G&L stands for George and Leo. Fender served as president and provided the designs and technical insight, Fullerton ran production, and Hyatt oversaw management and sales. Until Fender’s passing in 1991, G&L produced approximately 27,000 guitars with monthly production not reaching more than 800 instruments. It was during this time that Fender took his guitar innovation to another level and patented several new designs. As Fender was famously quoted in G&L literature, “G&L guitars and basses are the best instruments I have ever made.”
The HG series consisted of the HG-1 (one pickup) and the HG-2 (two pickups), and were only produced in 1983 and 1984. So, the date stamps on your guitar coincide with production dates. It’s estimated that just over 100 total HG models were ever produced, with less than five of them being single-pickup HG-1s. The HG series guitars were similar to the more common SC series guitars, but featured G&L’s Magnetic Field Design (MFD) humbucker pickups. The MFDs utilized a ceramic bar magnet with soft iron poles, rather than the more traditional alnico magnet.
Only about 100 of G&L’s short-lived HG-2 were made. The model features an offset maple body, a bolt-on maple neck, and the company’s Saddle-Lock bridge and MFD humbuckers.
The HG-2 features an offset maple body with double cutaways, a bolt-on maple neck, a 22-fret maple fretboard, six-on-one-side tuners, and G&L’s Saddle-Lock bridge (vibrato optional). The two MFD humbuckers are governed by a volume knob, a tone knob, and a pickup switch mounted on a half-moon shaped panel. The HG-2 was available in various colors, though it’s unknown how many different colors exist.
Based on G&L’s 11-year production of around 27,000 instruments, the HG series guitars made up about a 1/3 of a percent of all G&Ls built during Fender’s tenure. In other words, it’s a rare instrument, and G&L guitars from this era are quite collectible overall. Today your HG-2 is worth between $1,750 and $2,000, in very good condition as described. This value is also based on your guitar being all-original. Hopefully you’ll keep it that way no matter how much you play it!
After Fender’s death, his wife passed G&L on to John C. McLaren of BBE Sound, and they continue to build G&L guitars in the U.S. and overseas for their Tribute Series import line. I don’t know enough about motorcycle values to determine if your dad got a good deal or got swindled, but, in my opinion, you got a piece of history and a great guitar to play for years to come. Hopefully your dad never regretted his decision!
Sources for this article include researcher/historian H.L. Garrett and G&L: Leo’s Legacy by Paul Bechtoldt.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.